How does fertilizer help extinguish wildfires?
Today’s Video of the Day from the American Chemical Society explains why fertilizer is dumped around the perimeter of a wildlife to help keep it contained.
Long-term flame retardant is made of 85 percent water, 10 percent fertilizer, and five percent of other material such as clay.
Iron oxide gives the flame retardent its red color, which is used to help the firefighters see where retardant has been dropped.
The fertilizer is not used to extinguish a fire, but is used to help prevent a large fire from spreading. As the air heats up from the flames, the fertilizer reacts with the cellulose from trees and other vegetation that serve as fuel for a wildfire. The reaction produces water vapor that cools the surrounding fuel so that it will be less likely to catch on fire.
Video Credit: American Chemical Society